Now this is blog post is not about when an Innovator gets angry and how it stimulates innovation; it is rather how working across sectors in the economy can lead to innovation. The concept of Cross Innovation is a major talking point now in Europe. Europe has deep rooted economic problems and is looking to its strengths to see whether these can be better exploited and one of these is the strength of its creative industries. For many years Europe has promoted projects that look and looked at the creative sector in all its elements but increasingly as lessons elsewhere have shown the importance of the creative sector is in how it interacts with more main stream sectors. Cross Innovation is the focus on how that interaction can happen and can be promoted.
This discussion is happening locally where recently at the Birmingham Science City Digital Working Group, there were discussions about how digital skills and expertise can be of benefit to other sectors and services… an outward facing discussion. In addition locally BirminghamCityUniversity through Dr Steve Harding is leading a major EU funded project called ‘Promoting Cross-Innovation in European Cities and Regions’
This three-year project which started in January 2012, has a range of urban, regional and university partners from the cities of Birmingham, Amsterdam, Rome, Berlin, Lisbon, Stockholm and Warsaw amongst others. The key aim of the project is to learn from each other and to pilot new approaches.
The partners want to strengthen the awareness, where and in what way the creative sector contributes to innovations in other branches of economy. The aim is to develop new approaches, to promote collaborative and sector- encompassing innovation processes and to bring spill-over-effects into action. One of the foci of attention will be on the institutions or organizations that build bridges and links to other sectors. A key partner in the project is the Amsterdam Innovation Motor which is an institution formed to promote innovation in Amsterdam joining up the HE and research sectors with, the private sector and the public sector.
Birmingham City Council working closely with Birmingham City University have developed another project in the same genre; an EU funded URBACT project called Creative Spin . The Council have teamed up in this project with a major EU creative consultancy KEA Affairs – and a number of key cities across the EU.
Both projects are in their early days but it is vitally important that these two projects work together and they need to share what is learnt locally so that Birmingham can be at the forefront of this approach.
 This is not to be confused with the triple helix approach of the public, private and research sectors working together. One approach doesn’t preclude the other.